What Is A Mandala?
In Sanskrit, the word, 'Mandala' means circle and completion.
A Mandala is a symbol of unity and wholeness. The circle has been of major importance in every culture from the beginning of time. The mandala is the highest form of the unifying circle, and it is used in magic and meditation around the world.
Why Create A Mandala?
Creating a mandala gives you a focal point. The act of drawing or painting a mandala requires concentration, and this in itself is a practical way of deepening your spiritual practice.
It's good to keep the questions you have in mind while creating your mandala, because as you develop your mandala, so will you also move nearer the centre point where your answer is revealed to you. This is the beauty of engaging with the creation of a mandala - you don't have to struggle or push for the answer because it is revealed to you through the pattern and the colours.
It's a good idea to hang mandalas around your home, in places where you can sit and look at them during quiet moments of relaxation or meditation.
Focus on the image itself and let your mind relax. Don't strain or overly concentrate on it, just allow yourself to look at the whole mandala. Each time, when you realize that your thoughts are wandering away from what you see, just return your consciousness to the Mandala-centre. Do this for about 20 minutes.
Afterwards, it's useful to write down what you saw and felt in a journal. Over time, as you deepen your awareness in meditation, you will get more and more into the centre of the Mandala.
Children and Mandalas
Children love creating mandalas. It feels like they are simply colouring in pretty drawings, but if you explain to them what the process is about, they do understand, and it's a wonderful introduction to this sacred and profound artful meditation. It's calming, and I have seen children relax completely into themselves as they move towards their centre.
Some examples of the mandala are:
The Wheel of Destiny, which is the tenth Tarot card
A rose window from a Gothic cathedral in Switzerland, and
The T'ai Chi of the Orient